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NHL teams, players helping hurricane victims

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Hurricane Sandy Staten Island

Current New York Rangers stars will be holding a clinic on Staten Island to benefit one of the area’s hardest hit places. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By Stu Hackel

We’ll honor Day 60 of the NHL season being held hostage by not discussing the lockout but something more important, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This is out of the headlines in most places, but it remains a real problem for many people and, thankfully, some in hockey continue to pay attention.

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  • Published On Nov 14, 2012
  • New arena may bite Isles fans’ wallets

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    Barclays Center

    The Islanders’ future home was designed for basketball and concerts, not hockey. (David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Gary Bettman is not worried. The seating capacity for hockey games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center could be the smallest in the NHL. The commissioner said, as far as he’s concerned, “It’s not an issue.”

    But it may not entirely be a non-issue, either.

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  • Published On Oct 24, 2012
  • The Brooklyn Islanders? Not likely.

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    Nassau Coliseum is decrepit, but Isles fans may not be keen about going to Brooklyn to see their team. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    So here we go again. Islanders owner Charles Wang, still unable to get any movement in Nassau County on a new arena, has decided to have his team host a preseason game in a large arena elsewhere, one that does not already house an NHL club. The obvious implication is that if he can’t get a deal to his liking on Long Island, he’s got options. Look out Long Island — Charles Wang is moving his team.

    Well, he’s done this before with Kansas City. This time he’s doing it with Brooklyn. But, like the Kansas City ploy — where the game drew only 9,792 people, thus cooling any ardor Wang may have had for relocating there — this Brooklyn gambit is likely more of a charade than a bona fide threat.

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  • Published On Feb 01, 2012
  • Bettman sees Isles staying in New York

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    Some day, some way, the Islanders will get a new arena near the crumbling building they play in now. (Anthony Gruppuso/US PRESSWIRE)

    By Stu Hackel

    On Monday night, I just caught the tail end of the Winnipeg Jets’ game against the visiting Rangers, which, by all accounts, New York was lucky to win, 2-1. In many NHL arenas, frustrated fans would have booed the home team, but in what will almost certainly be a year-long love-in at the little arena on the prairie, Winnipeggers applauded their club for its effort.

    Everyone, it seems, loves the Jets. I’ve been giving my Minnesota North Stars hat a rest and wearing my Jets chapeau lately (the old logo, thank you) and getting compliments from hockey friends about my good taste. I can’t recall where I heard this, perhaps it was the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman on a radio interview, but it seems that our neighbors up north, apart from those in Winnipeg, have made the Jets Canada’s second favorite team. Fans in the rest of the country cheer for their team and then for the Jets, the refugee franchise whose transfer north is celebrated as a symbolic “Screw you!” to the NHL’s Sunbelt strategy.

    The embrace of the Jets, not just on the ice but also at the cash register, has some people wondering: Can the nouvelle Nordiques be far behind?

    Well, no one is reserving moving vans so quickly. We know that won’t happen until Quebec City gets an arena, which is not looming. It has just formed an engineering/architecture group for the $400 million proposed project that was first announced two years ago. No rush, especially because any new building with that price tag is going to draw some fire for being one of the league’s most expensive arenas in what would be the NHL’s second smallest market after Winnipeg and, inevitably, a drain on taxpayers. In fact, the legal wrangling on the new building is just beginning.

    And we know that new arena won’t happen until — and unless — there’s a team that is out of options and has no choice but to relocate to Quebec. There are no expansion plans, at least none that are publicly known. Is an NHL team destined abandon its current market and wear a redesigned Nordiques sweater?

    Gary Bettman apparently doesn’t see the Islanders as being the team to wear that uniform.
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  • Published On Oct 26, 2011
  • Islanders are going nowhere

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    The Isles are stuck in the Nassau Coliseum until their lease runs out in 2015. (Rich Stieglitz/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    On Monday in New York’s Nassau County, a mere 104,000 voters — or about one-tenth of the population – turned out to turn down a new arena for the Islanders, among other projects.  [UPDATE: The final official voter turnout was 154,549 voters, around 11.4 percent of the population, and about 17 percent of the registered voters.] Team owner Charles Wang didn’t say much after the results were clear other than to express his disappointment and heartbreak, and promise to honor the team’s lease at crumbling Nassau Coliseum until it runs out (video).

    That leaves the distinct impression in many quarters that the Islanders won’t be around after that. They’re going to Brooklyn! They’re going to Kansas City! They’re going to Quebec! They’re going to Portland! They’re going to Seattle! They’re going to Hamilton! They’re going to Hartford!

    They’re going nowhere.

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  • Published On Aug 02, 2011
  • For Isles, Alexei Yashin is back in fashion

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    Alexei Yashin was an expensive flop the Islanders had to pay to go away, so why in the name of Jiggs McDonald would they want him back? (Ed Betz/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s been a very strange offseason, one that challenges 2008 with its non-stop Mats Sundin rumors, Scotty Bowman joining the Blackhawks, NHL-KHL hostilities, the Lightning hiring Barry Melrose, and the fall of Boots Dell Biagio. What the Flyers have done recently — trading two of their core players, paying Ilya Bryzgalov more than Tim Thomas, signing Jaromir Jagr, the revelations about their Dry Island – is enough on its own to make this summer bizarre. Add to that the big money paid to James Wisniewski and Christian Ehrhoff, the Panthers commandeering the free agent vacuum cleaner, the Avalanche surrendering a first round (and possible lottery) pick and more for an oft-injured, inconsistent goalie, and Tomas Vokoun misreading the free agent market and landing in Washington for a bargain price, and you’ve got a serious contender for The Summer of Madness heavyweight title.

    So I guess none of us should be too surprised to hear the Islanders are doing a little courtship dance with Alexei Yashin.
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  • Published On Jul 27, 2011
  • Dismal Isles need a lot more than a coaching change

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    The Islanders have fallen earlier than usual, and they aren’t likely to get up in time to make the playoffs. (Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    A new, albeit interim, NHL head coach steps behind the bench tonight when Jack Capuano guides the Islanders against the Lightning at Nassau Coliseum. But no matter GM Garth Snow’s stated goal for the season, you can’t expect this young, struggling squad to be transformed into a playoff team, not in the short term.

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  • Published On Nov 17, 2010


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